Unemployment among veterans has reached crisis levels, and one Wall Street firm is determined to fight it.
Drexel Hamilton, which was founded in 2007 by disabled veteran Lawrence K. Doll, trains 24 disabled veterans per year for careers in finance, the New York Times' Gretchen Morgenson reports. Alumni of the program, called the Wall Street Warfighters Foundation, have gone on to executive positions at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and often Drexel Hamilton itself.
Drexel Hamilton is small by Wall Street standards: It has $3.2 million in assets and 35 employees, according to the NYT. But it stands out for being owned and run by disabled veterans and for preparing other disabled veterans for banking jobs.
Joblessness among vets is alarmingly high. The unemployment rate for those who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan spiked to 12.1 percent in 2011, from 11.5 percent in 2010, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate for non-veterans in 2011, in contrast, was 8.7 percent.
Veterans accounted for one in seven homeless people in the U.S. as of December 2011, according to the Center for American Progress. Nearly one-third of all veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 were unemployed last year, according to the Center for American Progress.
Veterans are struggling to find work in part because employers perceive veterans as not having developed civilian professional skills or civilian networks while in combat, according to military experts.
Drexel Hamilton writes on its website that though "today's military service member has spent more time in combat theatre than at any other point in our country’s military history...patriotic sentiment is often not translating into meaningful employment."